I’m not actually going to write about penguins, but the title gives you insight into what has been going through my head as I have been trying to come up with a blog post today. My struggle even devolved into my husband and I talking to Siri, watching weird videos on Facebook, and otherwise avoiding writing. Then David had a brilliant idea:
by David Hoenisch
AKA: My husband & best friend
this is a story about a story with no title. this story started as a story with no title, and lived his whole life with no title. when he graduated from the school of title-less stories, this story still had no title. then one day. it died.
Unfortunately, that didn’t really get me very far in the process of finding a topic to discuss. I think the problem is that what people most need to hear is the raw reality of life with PTSD and it’s hard to be vulnerable like that. It’s honestly rather difficult to have a website, an Instagram account, a Facebook page, a (mostly) daily blog, and a mindset which pursues publication. I like to lead a quiet, behind the scenes kind of life, but God allowed some rather difficult things in my life and my husband’s life for a reason. I firmly believe that we are called to share our story and let others into our lives not because we want pity or even sympathy but because in our young lives we have endured what many of our much older friends only understand in theory. That’s not a dis on them. I’m glad this isn’t the norm, but I am also honestly grateful for what we have gone through because it paves the way for us to better shine God’s glory because we simply cannot do this on our own.
We are weak, broken vessels. In a sermon David preached earlier this school year, he talked about the treasure we hold in earthen vessels (See 2 Corinthians 4). The Gospel. The completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Earthen vessels fits so well. We crack and crumble so easily. But God. I love those words; they are kind of the theme of my life. I was lost, but God found me. I was broken, but God healed me. The list is endless of the contrasts between my state on my own and what happened as a result of God’s intervention. Sometimes that intervention hurts, but it always, always, always brings God glory. Always. Without fail. A jar made of clay can hide what’s within it. When it is cracked and broken, though, the light within shines out. God is my light and in the absolute, utter brokenness He has allowed, His light shines through so much more clearly.
When the dreams and the flashbacks overwhelm me, when the grief comes like a tidal wave, when the physical ailments threaten to knock me out, I have but one thing to claim. The power of Christ in me. Oh how often I have wished to be healed, to not have to fight such battles in my head, to rewind the clock and somehow fix it so the losses would not happen. Just this morning, I fell apart because I just wanted comfort food but my food allergies make such things difficult to find. I read a Facebook post this afternoon that made me sick to my stomach as it brought a fresh round of grief to my heart. This isn’t a once in a while battle, friends; daily, I struggle. Daily I fight.
The great comfort of my life rests not in my own abilities. I have none. I find the joy and comfort and rest and peace I need to keep pressing forward in the sovereignty of my great God. Holy. Holy. Holy. That is my God. He is vast, far beyond my imagination, far beyond anything I can control or measure. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, all-powerful, all-knowing, infinitely holy God of the universe. And He has not left me abandoned. When I reach the lowest, most painful points, the remembrance of who God is sustains me. It is in those moments where I am completely empty that real worship takes place, where I most lean into my God and let Him take care of the mess around me.
Friends. Please understand that when I speak of worship, I speak not of a serene smile and outstretched arms singing praise songs in a church. That can be worship, but I see too much of that displayed as the “right” way to worship. But in the moments where a mom loses her first child, or a man loses his parents, or a girl becomes too ill to move, or the worst diagnosis you can imagine comes, that kind of worship is practically impossible. A heart crying out in the midst of hard reality that, “God, I know you are good. I don’t understand what you are doing, but you are good,” is worshiping just as much if not more than the serene worshiper in a weekly church service. Worship is full out, willing reliance on and praise of God no matter the circumstances.
If you’re waiting for a church service to worship God, then you, my friend, have missed the point. Long before church existed, men and women worshiped God. In the wilderness, all alone, unsure of the next step. In groups. In psalms. In prayer. You do not need a church building, a guitar player, a worship leader, or a pastor to worship. You just need an awe and reverence of God that acknowledges He is God and you are not.
And sometimes, worshiping God is just being in awe of His creative work. Have you seen a penguin? They’re like this totally awesome example of our Creator’s handiwork. But you know what? As cool as a penguin is, it has nothing on you, for you are God’s handiwork, made in His image for the sole purpose of reflecting His glory to those around you. What are you going to do with that?